NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Doctors at the Eastern Virginia Medical School are sending out a warning about melanoma, as they say it occurs more frequently in Hampton Roads than in other parts of the country.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes this deadly form of cancer, but suspect that exposure to UV rays is one of the culprits.
Who’s at most risk?
- People with fair skin, light hair (blond or red) and eye color (blue, green or hazel)
- People with a history of sunburns especially those that caused blistering when they were children
- People with a history of tanning bed use
- People who have many moles (>50)
- People with a prior history of melanoma and their blood relatives
- The best defense against melanoma is to regularly examine your skin. Looking for moles that look different from the rest is a good first step.
Tips on what to look for:
- Moles that are not round. Lesions where one side doesn’t match the other can be of concern.
- Moles lacking a smooth border. A mole border should have a smooth edge like a pencil eraser, not a scalloped edge.
- Moles should have a uniform color. See two, three or more colors in your mole? Be sure to get that one checked.
Best prevention strategies for protecting the skin:
- Sunscreen use, even on cloudy days
- Wear a hat or long sleeves
- Avoid the midday sun between 10 am. - 3 p.m.
Doctors recommend you check your moles once a month, and know that the cancer affects people with all skin tones.
Click here to learn more about melanoma and EVMS Dermatology.